Law School Discussion

Stay here or go to Columbia?

Re: Stay here or go to Columbia?
« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2006, 12:16:26 PM »
going from Santa Clara to Boalt

Excellent. There's 1 additional thing that, upon a professor's recommendation, I intend on looking into. He went to a top school (obviously, since he's a prof) & he said that at his school, they told transfers that they could make journals & law review. However, he was a bigwig on law review & said that it was their internal policy to not actually consider transfers. So, I'm reluctant to take what the school takes at face value. Instead, I plan on requesting the information for how many transfers have made each journal over the past 5 years. If for some/all of the journals (& I'm only talking about the competitive journals. Some of the Columbia journals are volunteer, I believe) had 0 transfers on their staff in the past 5 years, then they probably don't really consider us.

Re: Stay here or go to Columbia?
« Reply #11 on: July 09, 2006, 08:54:33 AM »
This is absolutely absurd. BLS places 6% in clerkships: You are ALREADY well into that 6%. CLS's 15% figure would require that you break into the top 10-15% as a 2L at a new school with some of the smartest students in the United States.

Secondly, you are eligible to apply, but not participate in, Columbia's Law Review. The only transfer student to have joined CLR is Ginsburg who transferred from Harvard for personal reasons and was already on HLR. Note how the "jounral for transfers" website qualifies its "you are eligible to apply" with "the journals have their own criteria for admissions."

The Columbia Law Review site lists its own criteria:
"Staff members are selected in four ways: solely on the basis of the first-year writing competition; based on a combination of writing competition score and grades; based on a combination of writing competition score, grades, and diversity criteria; or through participation in the publishable notes program held during the Autumn semester of the second year."

So, yes, you can apply to participte in Columbia Law Review, but your application will be through the publishable notes program. Good luck adjusting to Columbia, participating in OCIP, and publishing a note so that you can "participate"in Columbia Law Review. Don't believe me? Call them, I did. Here's there #:

Listen. These guys talk about breaking into the top of Columbia's class as if that's something that will be readily attainable for you. Columbia is a very very far cry from BLS, and you will realize that from the first day you step into the lecturehall and hear some of the student comments. Nothing that these guys has said is intuitive; everything that I have told you *is* intuitive. The Boalt kid is just trying to rationalize his own decision to transfer (although, admittedly, Santa Clara is a much much shittier school than Brooklyn).

The poster's chief reason was essentially a "so you don't get embarassed when someone asks you where you went to school." This is so foolish it barely needs addressing. Pride is an ugly thing. Are you going to make your decision based on pride, or based on what you really want to do with your life?

You are well within the 6% at BLS who get clerkships. There were no stats provided from the guy who said "2.5% at my much better school didn't get clerkships" -- a stat which I would find VERY difficult to believe (mainly because there is no way that it could be true, save HUGE personality defects in the applicants). The guy urging you to go to Columbia misled you about Law Review, unless you plan on submitting a note to "participate." They talk about clerkship opportunities at Columbia as much better because they are given to 15% of the class.

This year's entering Columbia class has median stats of 3.67/171. Fully 3/4 come from top 10 undergrads. They all have one year up on you in terms of establishing study groups and information on course-selection and grades. There is no doubt that you are "Columbia material," but so is everybody else there. To think that your 2.5% at BLS will translate into 10%, let alone 2.5%, at Columbia is simply foolish. You would have to work your ass off, and you know that very well. Don't listen to these f**cking idiots. Go talk to your professors, like I suggested. don't blindly follow their illogical, misleading lies. Talk to your professor, get an idea of the entire equation. Email several BLS alumni who got Circuit clerkships (the career services office will readily supply you with their names). This isn't difficult. Just don't listen to these guys' lies.

I agree with *most* of what you said. It seems like you have already looked into the stats that I was talking about. Obviously I'm going to call on my own & inquire further, but your post was really helpful. When you commented on pride, however, I think you totally took everything out of context. I was making an admission that everyone likes to feel special. I wasn't saying that was going to determine where I ended up at school.

Also, in looking back, I have to disagree with Lenny's post that I have "nowhere to go but down" in my rankings. Not only do I now know what I have to do to succeed (2nd semester's grades were much better than 1st) & I have confidence in my abilities, but I suspect that a large # of people towards the top of the class will transfer out. By the end of the summer, I might actually be somewhere close to top 1%. In the transferapps yahoo group, I see that 3 people at BLS (all with higher GPAs than me) have put in transfer apps elsewhere, including the guy that is #1 in my class.

It is basically coming down to risk assessment. If I go to Columbia, do well, get on a journal (even conceding probably not law review), & make some contacts with professors, I will be in much better shape. However, if I don't do so well, this could all end up blowing up in my face. I need to determine whether or not I'm willing to take that risk. I've been speaking to everyone that I can think of about it. So far I've spoken to 3 professors, my judge, her law clerks, my friends/family, & some random lawyers about it. My other 2 professors that are writing recommendations for me are going to sit down with me next week & discuss it. It's a lot to consider. The reason that I'm asking so much about it before the acceptance even comes in is that I want to be able to make an intelligent decision. This is a big deal & I don't want to be hasty about it.

In the end, Brooklyn will make it a lot easier on me if when I approach them with a Columbia acceptance letter, they offer to increase my scholarship.

Re: Stay here or go to Columbia?
« Reply #12 on: July 09, 2006, 10:59:50 AM »
If I were you, I would ask Columbia to give you the names and contact information of students who transferred into Columbia from other schools. You can address all your concerns with them.

Re: Stay here or go to Columbia?
« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2006, 09:47:17 PM »
I'm applying to Columbia. I asked a professor about my decision, he talked with me for a while and ultimately said I should go. I have personal reasons that make my situation more complicated, and he said in no uncertain terms that if it wasn't for the personal stuff it wouldn't even be a difficult decision. He also said that I'll do fine if I don't transfer, I'm at a T2 school, but he said that basically when you have a Columbia degree you can walk into almost any firm and get hired on the spot. The really elite firms will only hire law review members, but I wouldn't have a shot at any of those places now anyway.

In regards to the school sucking thing, it does matter from what I've heard. Don't brush it off. Lawyers are jerks with small wangs who see everything as a pissing contest - especially what school you attend. Also remember that partners want to impress their clients, and if that means giving their clients more face time with the Harvard or Columbia grad than the really smart Brooklyn grad who does all the work, that's what will happen.

Ronald Hyatt

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Re: Stay here or go to Columbia?
« Reply #14 on: July 10, 2006, 01:28:53 AM »
Ignoring all of the uncalled for and juvenile adhominems, I still feel compelled to address some of wcabkk's points. By the way, what's your deal wcabkkk? From what well of wisdom do you draw your advice? Have you been through this before? Are you currently thinking about it? Are you a T2 Law School Dean?

First of all, as I explicitly pointed out the 6/15% numbers are for judicial clerkship placement rates overall. Maybe I wasn't clear enough that these numbers include many state, and lower federal clerkships. I haven't seen any stats indicating which percentage of each school gets federal circuit or higher. I would suspect, however, that if you look at Cloumbia, the split is more dramatic. (Brian Leiter at Texas has compiled a set of rankings, however, which paint a far more favorable picture for Columbia in terms of SCOTUS clerk placement, eventual academia placement, and nationwide elite firm placement.)

Second of all, you make it sounds like those 6/15% numbers means that the top 6/15% get them automatically. I'm sure you realize that this is not the case. Especially with clerkships, the quality of your writing sample will count BIG TIME, and we all know just because you can write a good final doesn't always mean that you can write more intense research-based legal writing as well. It also assumes that EVERY student in the top 6/15% wants a clerkship; many just want to make a ton of money at a firm immediately. We agree that the range in which you are marketable for a clerkship expands at Columbia, but we disagree about what that range is.

Third of all, I'm still not buying the "Oh we can't do as well as Columbia students" or the "But I'm scared to keep working hard next year and having to suceed, and possibly failing" arguments. Sorry, there's just no convincing me; it isn't even a fleeting concern. I have solicited or read (mostly in the Yahoo! transfers group) many anecdotal accounts from transfer students. Although I have heard some complaints and regrets about the transfer decision, I don't remember one indicating that they did poor academically. The only people on these boards who post about not doing well are people who haven't done it and are afraid to do it (or T2 Law School Deans). 

As cultural_vacuum said, definitely contact people who transfered into Columbia last year. It would be even better if you found someone who went from Brooklyn to Columbia.

Re: Stay here or go to Columbia?
« Reply #15 on: February 23, 2007, 11:35:33 AM »
So, almost a year later, how did your choice work out for you?

Re: Stay here or go to Columbia?
« Reply #16 on: March 01, 2007, 09:45:21 AM »
So, almost a year later, how did your choice work out for you?
There was never a choice to make. I decided that if accepted, I would go. However, I got rejected (I was kind of surprised, but what ya gonna do?). However, everything has worked out fine for me. I have an excellent job and am still happy where I am. But, I'll always wonder what could have been.


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Re: Stay here or go to Columbia?
« Reply #17 on: March 08, 2007, 08:58:34 PM »
Equally fair points, even if your name is RonJeremy. The prestige wh*re inside me also pushes me in the direction of Columbia. Let's be honest, we all like to feel special & smart. We all like it when after you say where you go to school, the person you are speaking with replies "Oh my God. You must be smart." I know it sounds superficial, but it's the truth.

Eeeh, it wears off quickly if you're really miserable post-transfer.